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Showing posts from July, 2010


“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

I have a cyst on my shoulder close to the collarbone for over two years. Two weeks ago, it got infected. It started to swell, and caused pain and discomfort. Sitting on it for a couple of days, I finally went to see a doctor who put me on an antibiotic but to no avail. This week I went to a general surgeon who was reluctant to drain it because it is still infected and put me on even stronger antibiotics. Still, the half-a-golf-ball sized cyst is still sitting on my shoulder, as if it’d explode any moment.

“A cyst is a closed, saclike structure that contains fluid, gas, or semisolid material and is not a …

Nunc dimittis

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” -Simeon in Luke 2:29

Do you know why you do what you do?

Eric Liddel, a missionary and winner of the Men’s 400 metres at the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris, said in Chariots of Fire, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” Harold Abraham, the winner of 100m sprint at the same Olympic said, “I will raise my eyes and look down that corridor; 4 feet wide, with 10 lonely seconds to justify my existence.” John Coltrane, one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history, found his reason of being as he states, “[d]uring the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, i…


My new normal includes a 9 mile bike ride to work, and another 9 mile back, Monday to Friday. For cyclists, that’s hardly a workout. For those who drive everywhere, that’s unfathomable. For me, it’s a conviction, a choice, and a gift. Aside from some apparent benefits, like saving money and the environment, biking early in the morning and at the end of a work day mean having quiet down times with myself and God. I can’t think of a better way to start as well as to end a day.

Biking isn’t always easy, especially the steady climb-up on the way home. Head wind and rude drivers are not my friends. I had cars brushed up against me, or honk at me because I was riding on a bike-lane-turned-right-turn-lane. But still, I have nothing to complain about. I’ve seen women and children needing to hike half a day up a mountain to get clean water every single day. I’ve seen people sleeping on dirt at our gate over night. What is a 45-minute bike ride compare to these? If it is anything at all, it’d b…


Re-entry is tougher than I anticipated. It’s not a stretch to say that this is actually the toughest time thus far. Perhaps it was because the things I saw and experienced were far more than what I prepared myself to. I didn’t expect to see mothers and children sleeping at our gate overnight to line up for clinic. I didn’t expect to see 60 struggling children cramped in a very tight space, knowing that this was still far better than the living situation they came from. I didn’t expect to see five year-olds as tiny as one-year-olds, and not knowing whether they’d make it to the next day or not. I saw a man carrying a little black wooden casket one day and my heart sinked. Reading through the information about the ministry and the project is one thing, seeing and living with it on a day-to-day basis is another.

I still have flashbacks of different moments in our trip. They come and go. I could be talking to someone in this instance and found myself drifted away by memories the next. To s…

Days after presentation

Saturday was the big day to present the ministry our design. Sarah recaptured the process we went through this week and presented the design of the masterplan and work team facility. Both were well received. Like our project leader has been saying, “we are right where we are supposed to be,” and looking to move forward as the Spirit leads. While the trip is winding down to a conclusion, the project has only started.

Sunday, we took a day off and headed to the beach. The day was spent between hanging out at a rock beach (instead of sand), enjoying some good food and company, bargaining with vendors, and a volleyball game with a few Brazilian soldiers. Oh, and for the first time in 9 days, I slept through the night without sweating in an air-conditioned space.

Monday began with a 4 am hike. Earliest hike ever. We ascended the mountain with flash lights, and came down with the sun rising behind us. I love mountains.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help come…

Day 7 Casale Haiti with eMi

Brazil’s lost in the World Cup means the end of its flag flying in Casale, Haiti. Though we are generally out of touch with the World Cup, the occasional roaring from the crowd listening to the radio next door signals us that a game is on and help us keeping track with the score. The lost must be a big upset for them. However, a few hours later, they watched Ghana VS Uruguay with the same intensity nonetheless.

I gone out with the surveyors at 6 am today and had some good times up on the mountain at the site. I feel like I’ve learned a lot in this trip. Architectural-wise, after spending around 4 hours in meetings yesterday, I am making some progress on the design of the Work Team Facility. You could forget how to design, did you know that? I didn’t. It took me a few days to feel really stupid and to get back into gear. I can’t think of a better way to prepare myself to get back to work but to jump right in on a mission trip, aka a 5 days design charrette. We will present our work to t…